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[filmscanners] Re: film and scanning vs digital photography

On 09/06/2007 lotusm50@sprynet.com wrote:
> Hmmm.  Interesting and quite contrary to my own experience and others.
> 6 mp DSLR's could not hold a candle to a properly scanned piece of
> 35mm
> film in terms of image quality, detail, resolution and
> enlarge-ability.

:-) I said it was contentious.

In absolute and abstract terms I'd agree with you. A decent 35mm, scanned,
   has all those things (and I found a long time ago that scanning & post
prod gave me better prints than I could achieve in the darkroom - and I
was a fairly expert B&W printer after 25yrs of it).

But whether it matters is a more important but subjective question. For
years I used a 10D with no sense of loss because images were almost always
going to repro, and seldom used >A4. The gains, in terms of control, tonal
smoothness, and saved time vastly outweighed the fact that they'd look
worse as a 16x12 print which would never get made. Although one client did
get me to blow up a couple to 1 x 1.5m, and they were surprisingly fine so
long as you were near the proper viewing distance. If you went close, ugh,
but then 35mm film would be too.

Another issue that pushed me toward dig was that the materials I liked
best had either disappeared or had been replaced by updated inferior (but
less noxious) ones or truncated ranges (Agfa papers only in the top
selling grades - what idiots). Now they have gone completely.

And another was client requirements. 4 years ago I took 800GBP worth of
stale paper and chemistry to the tip because nobody ever ordered prints
anymore. Clients had begun to insist on dig. delivered electronically, for
the obvious cost savings as much as anything.

Film is not dead, and I hope it never is even though I appear to have left
it behind, but it has become a shrinking, specialist niche far faster than
anyone expected. There are a lot of losses and downsides to this
evolution, and gains as well, but they really aren't what anyone expected.
They are a nothing to do with image quality, which is and always was a
matter of 'good enough' rather than a techie theological debate. I'm in
the middle of writing a series of blog pieces about this.


Tony Sleep

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